The Holocaust – Learning Never to forget

As part of our commitment to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, a member of the SEJ team accompanied a school group on a trip to Auschwitz in 2011.

Featured below is a first-hand account of his experience and the history of the Holocaust.

Auschwitz – the very name of the place is enough to send a cold shiver down the spine.

Even today, in the seventh decade since the liberation of its camps, there are few who have not heard, or read, or viewed stories of the inhuman horrors that were perpetrated there from the years 1940 until 1945.

Of the 6 Million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust, around 1 in 4 – or 1,500,000 people – died in the camps at Auschwitz.  Brian Cooper joined a visit to Auschwitz with a party of Scottish school pupils and the Holocaust Educational Trust, and reports here for the SEJ.

When I first received an invitation from the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) to join a party of Scottish schools on a visit to Auschwitz, I wasn’t sure quite how to react.  After some thought, I accepted the offer although I was aware that I had agreed to possibly the most harrowing experience that I will ever face.

Others were aware of this too, and struggled to know what to say when I told them of the planned visit.  Perfectly normal social conventions, such as wishing someone a good trip, become deeply uncomfortable when the destination is history’s most infamous mass-murder site.